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Catholic Health

Catholic Health hosts a Community Health Fair at 245 Old Country Road, Melville on Saturday, June 22 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Enjoy a day of healthy fun with free health screenings, CPR/First Aid demonstrations, free narcan kits, and educational activities for all ages including a teddy bear clinic. Meet with Catholic Health specialists and other vendors and enjoy lots of free giveaways. Rain date is June 23. For more information and to register for a free gift, please call 516-705-3839.

Partnership with Catholic Health; New Rides: ‘Moon Chaser,’ ‘Jr. Pirate Ship,’ and ‘Wave Twister’ Announced 

Adventureland in Farmingdale has announced the details of its multi-year, five-phase $10 million redevelopment plan of Long Island’s most popular amusement park, as well as a new partnership with Catholic Health. This marks one of the biggest investment projects in the park’s 62-year history since the installation of the ride called ‘Turbulence’ in 2015, which cost $5 million. The announcement was made at a press conference on March 19. 

“We saw an opportunity to improve and enhance the guest experience,” said Caitlin DiSclafani, Park Manager of Adventureland. “These investments add value to the park and to the guests’ experience. We’re excited to leave a lasting legacy in the park for generations to come.”

The most visible and immediate change is the addition of two new rides for the upcoming 2024 season, which include the ‘Jr. Pirate Ship Ride’ and ‘Moon Chaser.’ The second phase involves the addition of a first-of-its-kind custom-made ride called ‘Wave Twister,’ which is expected to open in time for the spring 2025 season. There are at least two more planned rides that are to be added over the next three phases. These will be the first new rides since the addition of the ‘FireBall’ in 2022, which was a $2 million investment.

“Our family is very excited to bring the dream of redeveloping Pirate’s Cove into reality with the groundbreaking of Legacy Corner,” said Steve Gentile, President of Adventureland. “We are thrilled to kick off this 5-year project with Moon Chaser, which I’m sure will be an amazing addition to Adventureland and fan favorite for the people of Long Island. To be able to have the best that our amusement industry has to offer right here in Farmingdale – the heart of Long Island- is something very special. It is a privilege that we do not take for granted!”

Adventureland estimates that by the end of the fifth phase, there will be a 10% growth in employment to support the new ‘Legacy Corner’ section, which is expected to be completed in 2028. 

 Catholic Health Partnership

Catholic Health is sponsoring the main entrance and the City Hall Building, which has now been renamed the Catholic Health Wellness Center. This area is home to ‘Guest Relations,’ ‘First Aid,’ and the ‘Lost and Found.’ Another addition is a blue line throughout Adventureland that will direct guests from anywhere in the park to the Catholic Health Wellness Center. 

 “Catholic Health is pleased to serve as lead sponsor for Adventureland, Long Island’s favorite amusement park,” said Dr. Patrick O’Shaughnessy, president and CEO of Catholic Health. “With deep roots in Long Island and an ongoing history of partnering with the communities it serves, we’re thrilled to do our part to ensure that the communities of Long Island will always have opportunities to make lasting memories in a family-friendly environment. Adventureland is all about bringing families and friends together, and so is Catholic Health.”

Catholic Health will also have a presence in the park during family-friendly events like the ‘Egg Scramble’ and ‘Pumpkin Park’. Catholic Health will also feature a variety of health-focused educational programs for park guests throughout the season. 

“Adventureland and Catholic Health both support the health, wellness, and safety of Long Island families, so we are very excited to announce a partnership between these two Long Island institutions,” said DiSclafani.

Legacy Corner 

A large part of the investment will be the creation of the ‘Legacy Corner,’ which will be on the front southeast side of the park about a little over an acre in size. In addition to at least four new rides, brand-new concession stands, restrooms, and other amenities will be constructed. Annually, Adventureland hires over 650 part-time employees. It’s estimated that the increase in employment to service these new areas will lead to a 10% increase in park employment by the end of the fifth phase. The full five-phase project is expected to be completed by 2028. 

Retired Rides

In the weeks leading up to its 2024 season opening, Adventureland announced the retirement of the ‘Log Flume,’ ‘Pirate Ship’ ride and ‘Spinning Cars’ to make way for new rides. 

The ‘Pirate Ship’ ride was installed in 1987, which makes it over 35 years old. Adventureland officials say it was about time to replace the aging rides. 

“With older rides—they need more maintenance and become difficult to repair over time. And, also—finding replacement parts becomes increasingly difficult as the parts are no longer being made,” said DiSclafani.

The ‘Log Flume’ was replaced for a few reasons, one of which was that it took up a significant amount of space—about 10%—of the entire park. It also had limited seasonal use from May through September. In contrast, the new rides will be utilized all season long, from March through early November. 

The ‘Spinning Cars’ were retired to make way for the ‘Jr. Pirate Ship’ ride. The ‘Antique Cars’ are expected to be retired during the third phase of the plan. 

New Rides

The ‘Jr. Pirate Ship’ ride is geared towards—but not limited to—children who are from 5-to-8 years old. (They must be about 36″ tall to ride with an adult and 47″ tall to ride alone.) This ride is located by ‘Kiddieland’ near the arcade. It is similar to the larger scale ‘Pirate Ship’ ride which was recently removed to make room for the ‘Moon Chaser.’ 

The ‘Moon Chaser’ is a 45′ tall galaxy-themed thrill ride which spins, twists, dips, and inverts riders. This ride is unique because it is currently the only one in the park that goes upside down. It is similar to the size and footprint of the ‘Pirate Ship’ ride it is replacing. This ride is geared towards children who are 11 years old or older. (Anyone who wishes to ride this must be at least 55″ tall.) This ride seats 28 people at a time. 

The Moon Chaser is considered a flat ride—which means it depends on power—and riders will experience immediate thrills as soon as the ride starts. 

The second phase will introduce the new ride— ‘Wave Twister.’ This is a first-of-its-kind ride that was custom built for Adventureland. This newly-created ride that will make its debut in the United States. The track is custom built in a boomerang shape to fit into the corner of the ‘Legacy Corner,’ which will maximize the available space in that section. It’s estimated that one or two more rides can fit in that section, which was formerly referred to as ‘Adventure Falls.’ The plan is to expand more rides within the existing footprint of the park. 

The ‘Wave Twister’ is a family ride. It was made in Switzerland by RES Rides—the same company that built the ‘FireBall’ ride. Similar to ‘Wave Twister,’ this ride has a boomerang shape to simulate the motion and feel of riding on ocean waves. It will spin and travel over a track and reach heights of up to 60 feet at its peak. Although it is a dry ride, it will feature water elements in the forms of fountains and mists. It features two gondolas in a figure-eight shape and can fit 20 riders per cycle. Riders must be 36″ tall (height of the average 4-year-old) to ride with adults, and 48″ tall (height of the average 8-year-old) to ride alone. 

The opening weekend of the 2024 season is March 23rd and 24th. The park will be open during weekends and holidays throughout the spring. For more details, visit https://adventureland.us/.

About Adventureland

Adventureland was founded in 1962 as a local place to have fun and relax as a family. Over 62 years later, the park is now a destination amusement park, home to classic rides including our iconic Ferris Wheel and Carousel and new thrills like the internationally-celebrated FireBall Coaster, and the custom designed spinning roller coaster, Turbulence. With rides, games, and attractions for children and adults of all ages, Adventureland is a favorite for the young and young at heart. 

As a major area tourist attraction, Adventureland has a positive impact on the local and state economy, through employment and patronage to other local companies. Annually, our park hires over 650 part-time employees, mostly high school students and college students. For many of our employees—this is their first job. We train them in a variety of areas (cash handling, Safety, Guest Relations) preparing them with the basic skills they will carry into their own careers. For more information visit https://adventureland.us/                  

About Catholic Health 

Catholic Health is an integrated system encompassing some of the region’s finest health and human services agencies. The health system has approximately 17,000 employees, six acute care hospitals, three nursing homes, a home health service, hospice and a network of physician practices. Under the sponsorship of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, Catholic Health serves hundreds of thousands of Long Islanders each year, providing care that extends from the beginning of life to helping people live their final years in comfort, grace and dignity.

Gary Havican

Catholic Health has named Gary Havican as its Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, effective February 5, 2024. In this role, Havican will oversee the operations of Catholic Health’s six hospitals, its employed medical group, and its Home Care and Hospice services, according to a press release.

“We are thrilled to welcome Gary to Catholic Health. His track record for raising the bar in health care operations will greatly strengthen our commitment and efforts to deliver exceptional care at a consistently high standard system-wide,” said Catholic Health President & CEO Patrick M. O’Shaughnessy, DO, MBA. “Gary’s proven know-how in operational leadership, combined with his skills in physician relations, will be instrumental in driving Catholic Health’s continued expansion and commitment toward becoming the premier health system on Long Island.”

Havican brings over 27 years of experience in system leadership to Catholic Health, serving most recently as the President of Hartford HealthCare’s central region, part of a Connecticut-based $5.6 billion multi-hospital system. During his tenure, Healthgrades recognized his hospitals for outstanding patient experience, and the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) awarded them 5-star ratings. He was also instrumental in the expansion of Hartford HealthCare’s MidState Medical Center and the creation of its Connecticut Orthopaedic Institute, a hospital within a hospital dedicated exclusively to orthopedics and musculoskeletal care.

“I look forward to working with Catholic Health’s outstanding team of health care leaders and innovators, building on the exceptional momentum already in motion in its delivery of consumer-centric compassionate care in every patient encounter,” said Havican. “Dr. O’Shaughnessy’s commitment to growth across the health system during these challenging times is what inspired me to join this team of health care visionaries, and to extend Catholic Health’s outstanding services to more Long Islanders.”

Prior to Hartford HealthCare, Havican worked at Middlesex Health where he held progressively responsible positions, and served as Vice President for Strategic Planning and Ambulatory Operations. Havican holds advanced degrees, including an MBA and a Doctor of Health Sciences.

By Rita J. Egan

The Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame board and staff members are in a Billy Joel state of mind.

At a press conference on Oct. 20, Ernie Canadeo, LIMEHOF chairman, announced that the venue’s upcoming exhibit, Billy Joel — My Life, A Piano Man’s Journey, will open at the museum in Stony Brook Village on Nov. 24.

“It’s so appropriate that it’s located here on Long Island, where Billy has spent most of his life and created much of his incredible music,” Canadeo said. “It is also appropriate that it has been created and will be displayed exclusively at the Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame.”

Canadeo said LIMEHOF, which has more than 120 inductees, including Joel, has been planning the first major exhibit dedicated to the singer and songwriter for nearly a year. The museum’s second exhibit since it opened November 2022 will cover Joel’s life from his upbringing in the Levitt home section in Hicksville throughout his more than 50-year music career.

Among the items featured will be awards, memorabilia, behind-the-scenes video, rare audio and video recordings, vintage instruments and photos. Many of the items will be protected with acrylic cases with no doors, and other precautionary steps will be taken.

Canadeo and LIMEHOF exhibit designer Kevin O’Callaghan visited Joel’s storage unit to find items for the exhibit. Among them is about 60 minutes of a recording session audio. Visitors to the exhibit will be able to hear Joel and his band recording a song in the venue’s theater on the second floor.

At the press conference, Canadeo said the nine-foot piano in the room was the one Joel used during the Face to Face Tour with Elton John. Inside, the staff found the musician’s harmonica and a towel.

O’Callaghan, who has worked on more than 150 exhibits during his career, said it was a dream come true for him to work on the project. “This is very close to my heart because I am a Long Islander, and I’m very proud of it,” he said.

The designer added he was nervous when he and Canadeo met with Joel since he heard the entertainer could be tough regarding saying OK to similar projects.

“He usually doesn’t do things that put him on a pedestal, but I explained to him that this would be a party, that we’re going to celebrate your career,” O’Callaghan said.

He added the exhibit will also include tributes to those who were inspired by Joel and those who inspired him, such as Paul McCartney, Ray Charles and Beethoven.

“Anything that Billy felt close to or felt that he was inspired by,” he said.

Billy Joel — My Life, A Piano Man’s Journey exhibit will open on Friday, Nov. 24 at noon at the Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame, 97 Main Street, Stony Brook and run for a limited time. 

The exhibit is being supported and sponsored by Catholic Health, The Billy Joel Foundation, Madison Square Garden Entertainment, Jake’s 58 Casino Hotel, The Haugland Group, M&T Bank, The EGC Group and Lessing’s Hospitality. 

Timed tickets, available at www.TheBillyJoelExhibit.com or at the museum, are $35 for adults, $32.50 for seniors and veterans, and $20 for students over 13. VIP tickets are $49. For more information about LIMEHOF, visit www.limehof.org.

Catholic Health celebrated the opening of its latest Catholic Health Ambulatory & Urgent Care with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Aug. 2. Located at 2112 Middle Country Road in Centereach, the newly constructed 63,000 square foot multispecialty care center will feature a number of primary and specialty care services, as well as a walk-in urgent care for patients with more immediate care needs. 

The new center is part of Catholic Health’s growing network of multispecialty care centers, complete with diagnostic imaging, an on-site pharmacy, and a dedicated suite where Catholic Health’s gastroenterologists can perform endoscopy procedures in a safe, comfortable and convenient environment outside the hospital setting. 

“Today marks an important day not only for Catholic Health but also for the residents in and near Centereach, who now have access to exceptional primary care, urgent care, and specialized care across a wide variety of medical specialties,” said Catholic Health President & CEO Patrick O’Shaughnessy, DO, MBA. 

“We’ve launched a number of Ambulatory Care sites across Long Island, however, today we open our largest and most expansive. This state-of-the-art facility reflects our continuing commitment to placing more health care services outside of the hospital setting, serving our communities with highly accessible, community-based sites where patients can get the care they need, when they need it, as conveniently as possible,” he added.

The new facility is part of a $17 million development project that further strengthens Catholic Health’s goal of making quality health care more convenient for Long Islanders and to support many of the unmet health care needs of the community. Designed and constructed from the ground up, 43,000 square-feet of space will immediately be used for primary and specialty care services, eventually building out an additional 20,000 square-feet for future health care services.

The ribbon cutting ceremony featured members of Catholic Health leadership, elected officials and community leaders and Simone Healthcare Development, owner and developer of the facility. 

“We are delighted to celebrate this incredible transformation of a former retail site into a state-of-the-art multispecialty ambulatory and urgent care center for Catholic Health,” said Joseph Simone, President of Simone Development Companies. “It was a true collaboration between our teams to be able to deliver this first-rate facility in just one year from start of construction. Numerous planning approvals were required and we thank the Town of Brookhaven and Suffolk County for their support and cooperation throughout the process.”

“I am happy to welcome Catholic Health Ambulatory & Urgent Care to the new Centereach location. As their largest facility, they can offer a wide variety of health services to the residents of Brookhaven Town. This is a great example of how redevelopment of a former retail property is a much better alternative to new development and it makes healthcare more easily accessible for our residents while creating jobs for local healthcare workers,” said Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine.

From left, Neil Giraldo, Pat Benatar and Taylor Dayne head to the Catholic Health Ampitheater on July 23. Photos courtesy of LIMEHOF

By Tara Mae

Since time immemorial, troubadours have chronicled every aspect of affection and antagonism through song. If love is a battlefield, music is one of the most effective weapons in its arsenal.

On Sunday, July 23, the Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame (LIMEHOF) celebrates the power of music with “Funtastic 2023,” a benefit concert for the organization featuring Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo with special guest Taylor Dayne at the Catholic Health Amphitheater at Bald Hill, 1 Ski Run Lane in Farmingville. The concert kicks off at 7:30 p.m. 

“We are calling it Funtastic 2023 because we want people to have a lot of fun at this concert with powerful, upbeat music that has survived the test of time,” said LIMEHOF Chairman of the Board of Directors Ernie Canadeo.

Benatar and Dayne, who are each on tour this summer, will play full sets spanning the continuing creative arc of their careers. Giraldo, a musician and five time Grammy Award winning producer, will join his wife, Benatar, onstage.  

International artists whose first notes were formed on Long Island, Benatar and Dayne were inducted into the LIMEHOF in 2008 and 2012 respectively. Benatar, a four time Grammy Award winning rock singer/songwriter, is renowned for assertive, commanding hits like “Heartbreaker,” “Hit Me with Your Best Shot,” and “Love is a Battlefield.” 

Three time Grammy Award nominated, American Music Award winning singer/songwriter Dayne, is famous for defiantly danceable pop music, including “Tell It to My Heart,” “Love Will Lead You Back,” and “With Every Beat of My Heart.”  

These multi-award winning, multiplatinum musical mavens are hometown heroes: Benatar grew up in Lindenhurst and Dayne was raised in Freeport and Baldwin. 

“[The board] worked together to put on a concert utilizing the Long Island Music Hall of Fame’s inductees. From there we selected Benatar and Dayne, a natural fit…they are excellent representatives of Long Island. Canadeo said. “We felt that the LIMEHOF clientele would appreciate their music and artistry.”

LIMEHOF’s mission and membership will be well-represented at the event, with a promotional booth onsite selling its merchandise as well as concert t-shirts and raffle tickets for two house seats to a Billy Joel concert at Madison Square Garden. Although LIMEHOF has had smaller shows in the past, this is its premiere big benefit concert, with the goal of many encores to follow. 

“I am looking forward to seeing familiar faces and meeting future members of LIMEHOF. We hope it becomes an annual event,” Canadeo said.

Just as a performance requires cooperation, Funtastic 2023 is a collaborative exercise both onstage and behind-the scenes. The idea of the concert was born from a conversation between Canadeo and John Caracciolo, who athrough his company JVC Media, operates 16 radio stations and the amphitheater in Farmingville, which is owned by the Town of Brookhaven. 

“I love the venue; it is the largest outdoor venue in Suffolk County, with a terrific sound system, and accommodating seating: people may opt to bring their own chairs to sit on the lawn or take advantage of the stadium seats,” Canadeo said. “…We were discussing how to promote LIMEHOF and the conversation evolved from there.”  

While the arts are seemingly threatened by everything from the advent of Artificial Intelligence to streaming sales that yield cents per play, LIMEHOF lauds the universal language of music and honors fluent local musicians. Founded in 2004, LIMEHOF has honored 120 inductees. It is committed to preserving Long Island’s musical legacy so that it may be appreciated and celebrated now and in the future.

A rolling stone for many years, in 2022 LIMEHOF finally found a permanent home at the Stony Brook Village Center. With the price of admission, visitors to its headquarters may enjoy free concerts or immerse themselves in an interactive exhibition. It houses musical mementos and traditionally hosted awards ceremonies, including the Long Island Music Hall of Fame Induction through 2018.

Since settling down, LIMEHOF has reportedly exceeded all of its all attendance goals as visitors immerse themselves in exhibits featuring musician memorabilia or a surround sound theater that plays what Canadeo described as “rare music videos.” 

“As a nonprofit, LIMEHOF depends on public support through admissions, donations, and events like [Funtastic] to help us operate and continue to create memorable, exciting experiences,” he said.  

The success of these programs also enables a new duo to make its debut. At the concert, Dr. Patrick O’Shaughnessy, CEO of Catholic Health, will announce Health and Harmony. This program, a partnership between the healthcare group and LIMEHOF, is designed to support residents’ mental health.   

“People can listen to a select playlist that matches their mood; it is a multifaceted program that incorporates a vision to improve the wellbeing of Long Islanders through the power of music,” Canadeo explained.

During Funtastic, the message of music as sustainable sustenance for the soul is both a refrain and supporting act for Benatar, Giraldo, and Dayne. 

“[This] is a wonderful opportunity for all Long Islanders to enjoy a terrific concert in a wonderful venue and support the Hall of Fame’s mission of keeping Long Island’s music heritage alive,” said Canadeo.

Doors open at 5 p.m. Tickets, which range from $52.65 to $106.65 (including fees), are on sale at www.ticketmaster.com. For more information about this event and LIMEHOF, visit www.limusichalloffame.org.

Richard Rosenberg, left, and Michael Dubb, attorney and principal respectively at the Jericho-based Beechwood Organization during a May 1 public hearing at Port Jefferson Village Hall. Photo by Raymond Janis

Ten minutes before 6 p.m., every chair in the house was already taken. Behind the gallery, some sat on tables, others on desks. A standing crowd began to form. Younger attendees yielded their seats to their elder counterparts. All were in for a long night.

The board room at Village Hall could not contain the audience gathered on Monday night, May 1, for the Village of Port Jefferson Board of Trustees public hearing on the Maryhaven Center of Hope property on Myrtle Avenue.

“It’s great to see a full room,” said Mayor Margot Garant. “That means this community is engaged.”

The village board is considering modifying the zoning code and proposing an incentives package to encourage the historic preservation and adaptive reuse of historic buildings and structures.

The Maryhaven property is currently zoned as a Professional Office P-O District. Under the existing zoning code, an applicant within the P-O District can request a special-use permit for Moderate-Density Residence R-M District development.

Village attorney Brian Egan explained the motivations guiding these potential code changes.

The Maryhaven “building is certainly worth keeping,” he told the sea of residents in attendance. 

Convincing the owners of that building to preserve it, however, represents a quandary for village officials. The existing zoning code lacks a mechanism to sway developers toward historic preservation.

“There is no obligation to save that building,” Egan said.

The proposed code amendment would create such a mechanism — a special permit application. Egan referred to this application process as “another layer of control” for the village board, enabling it to designate specific parcels that contribute to the village’s architectural or aesthetic character.

If a parcel meets these criteria, determined by the Board of Trustees, then the applicant would qualify for “slightly relaxed standards” under the R-M code, Egan stated. 

In the previous week’s work session, they agreed those relaxed standards would be allowances for additional height and stories but no additional clearing — a tradeoff of density for historical preservation and conservation.

Developers from the Jericho-based Beechwood Organization, the firm negotiating with Catholic Health to acquire the Maryhaven property, attended the public hearing. Michael Dubb, principal at Beechwood, stated his intention to preserve the historic building on-site.

“It would be easier for me as the developer to knock that building down … but that wouldn’t be the right thing to do,” he said.

Richard Rosenberg, an attorney for Beechwood, expanded upon the firm’s vision for the site.

“The intention is to keep the original part of the structure, which is around 40-45,000 square feet, demolish the rest,” he said. “There is asbestos, there is lead-based paint. We have to clean it up according to regulations.” He added, “It’s a big ticket item.”

Public input

Following the presentations by Egan and Beechwood, the board took comments from the public. During that period, community members expressed a recurring message:

“I think the big problem that many of us have is density,” resident Eric Sackstein told board members. This general sentiment echoed throughout the evening.

Former village trustee Virginia Capon, who had chaired the Comprehensive Plan Committee, expressed her appreciation for the board in its willingness to preserve the historic structure.

But she objected to the board’s proposed remedy to the problem, suggesting that the board consider the village in its entirety before changing the zoning code.

“That building is beautiful, but I don’t think this is the way to preserve it,” she said.

The former trustee added that numerous other factors weigh into the Maryhaven calculation, such as its nearby steep slopes, which can cause issues with flooding. Capon advised the board to explore options that do not incentivize greater density.

“If you can come up with a way of preserving this building that maybe doesn’t overdevelop the parcel, that would be my recommendation,” she said.

Several other differing proposals were offered for the adaptive reuse of the site. Michael Mart, citing the flooding concerns over the Port Jefferson Fire Department building on Maple Place, proposed relocating the fire station to the higher elevation at the Maryhaven property. 

Another resident, Steve Velazquez, proposed selling Village Hall and headquartering the village’s municipal operations at Maryhaven.

Discussions over Maryhaven remain ongoing as the board left the public comment period open for 21 days following Monday’s meeting.

Catholic Health patients identified as having food insecurities will be able to take home a bag with enough food for three days. Photo from Long Island Cares

A local health care system and nonprofit have joined forces to help patients in the area.

Catholic Health and Hauppauge-based Long Island Cares food bank have been working together to help patients battling food insecurities.

“We have to engage health care partners in the fight against hunger,” said Jessica Rosati, Long Island Cares vice president for programs.

A pilot program was launched last summer in Catholic Health emergency rooms, including St. Catherine of Siena Hospital in Smithtown and St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson, to identify residents who need grocery supplements. The initiative includes health care practitioners screening emergency room patients for what are called “hunger vital signs.” If a screener deems a person is food needy, the patient can take a bag that has enough food for one or two people for three days.

Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein, Catholic Health vice president and chief public and community health officer, said there has been data showing that 10-15% of Long Islanders experience food insecurities.

“We don’t want people leaving our hospitals and going to a home with no food,” Eisenstein said.

The doctor said questions asked during screening include if there is enough food in the patient’s home or if they have enough money to buy more. Eisenstein said the bags are meant to be a bridge until a person can receive additional help. Health care professionals will also ask patients if they need help connecting with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP, or social services.

Rosati said food insecurity is a social determinant of health.

“It makes a lot of sense for health care providers to start screening individuals for food insecurity, simply because it has such a strong correlation with other diseases and disorders,” she said. “If we can treat people when they immediately come in, then we have a better chance of linking them with the appropriate services so they have all of their needs met — not only their physical health, but everything else.”

Eisenstein added that the hope is to prevent unnecessary readmissions. He gave the example that if a patient with congestive heart failure may not be able to afford nutritious food, they may be back in the emergency room with health problems.

He said unnecessary admissions might mean financial consequences for a health care system, but ensuring people don’t return to the emergency room unnecessarily is part of a hospital’s mission “to be humane and serve the most vulnerable.”

According to Rosati, more than 1,000 meals in to-go bags were distributed at all six Catholic Health hospitals to date. She added all the food included in the bags are nonperishable, shelf stable, and staff ensure food is nutritionally sound before being purchased.

She added Catholic Health officials approached Long Island Cares about initiating the program and the health care system has taken ownership of the program and found donors to expand it. She commended Catholic Health for its efforts, adding that such an initiative is “imperative for people’s overall health and the success of their health,” and hopes other providers will take note.

Bags are now also being distributed throughout the Catholic Health’s ambulatory care, walk-in clinics, home care operations and cancer institute locations throughout Long Island, including Smithtown, Port Jefferson, Commack and East Setauket.

Uniondale-based Harris Beach law firm recently donated $5,000 to the program, according to Long Island Cares, which will cover 2,000 meals.

Dr. Arif Ahmad, St. Charles and St. Catherine of Siena Acid Reflux and Hiatal Hernia Centers of Excellence Director Photo courtesy of Catholic Health

Catholic Health is expanding its service offerings with the opening of the Acid Reflux and Hiatal Hernia Centers of Excellence at St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson and St. Catherine of Siena Hospital in Smithtown. The Centers will offer minimally invasive surgical procedures as a permanent solution for acid reflux and repair of hiatal hernia. 

Heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), also known as acid reflux, is a chronic condition affecting 20 percent of people in the United States. Common symptoms include acid reflux, heartburn, nausea, persistent regurgitation, difficulty swallowing, chronic cough and chest pain.  

“We are delighted to provide this much-needed service in our community for those who are suffering from chronic heartburn and acid reflux, looking for a long-term solution,” said St. Charles and St. Catherine of Siena President James O’Connor. “Our goal is to improve the quality of life for patients suffering from heartburn and GERD, with an individualized treatment plan and successful outcome.” 

“Many patients want to eliminate dependence on medications and are concerned about long-term side effects,” said St. Charles and St. Catherine of Siena Acid Reflux and Hiatal Hernia Centers of Excellence Director Arif Ahmad, MD. “Most patients continue to regurgitate in spite of medications. Minimally invasive surgical techniques are safe alternatives that should be considered.”

For more information, call 631-474-6808 for St. Charles Hospital and 631-862-3570 for St. Catherine of Siena Hospital.

Randolph G. Howard

Randolph G. Howard, Jr., MHA, FACHE, has been named Chief Operating Officer at Catholic Health’s St. Catherine of Siena Hospital (SCSH). A retired army officer, Mr. Howard has 20 years of experience in healthcare administration.

In his new role, Mr. Howard will oversee SCSH’s daily hospital operational and administrative functions; design and implement business strategies; set comprehensive goals for performance and growth across all clinical services lines; and continue to ensure patient safety and patient satisfaction. 

“We are very fortunate to have Mr. Howard part of St. Catherine’s senior leadership team,” said SCSH President James O’Connor. “With extensive experience in hospital operations, system integration and facilities management, Mr. Howard has proven his steadfast leadership, strategic capital planning and keen decision-making skills in addressing various operational issues. As St. Catherine’s COO, Mr. Howard will further enhance our hospital’s mission in providing the highest quality of care to our patients.”

Prior to joining Catholic Health, the Centerport resident served as Northwell Health’s Senior Vice President, Corporate Facilities Services where he oversaw property management for 18 million square feet for all Northwell-affiliated hospitals, as well as over 800 non-hospital properties.